Mo Pop Festival is a celebration of the Metro Detroit area featuring local and national musical artists, a beer garden, a food truck rally, and an artists’ village all in one place at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Awesome Mitten had the chance to catch up with Mike Childs, the festival’s organizer and a Detroit-area cheerleader, for a little Q&A about the event, and more!
AM: First off, what does MO POP mean?
MC: Mo Pop embodies the themes of the Metro Detroit area and is a rally point for our generation’s evolving culture.
MC: We wanted to do something that wasn’t just better sameness. When there are 12 bands on a stage, it becomes the same, there is no point of difference and really where’s the satisfaction of just doing something that has always been done?
Music and food aren’t exclusive, beer is also usually a part of a music event and art is the glue that further opens us up to the human experience and creates a community. We wanted the beer, food and art as big a part of the entire event experience as the music.
Speaking from my own experience I have gone to countless events outside the events my company produces and sometimes I won’t eat because what is being served isn’t appealing and there are few options, it lessens my enjoyment of the event and I think why? At Mo Pop you step into a world we created for the fan experience.
Walk through the gate, catch world class musicians that include nationally buzzing Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. representing the long line of innovative Detroit music. Walk over to the Mo Pop Food Truck Rally Alley and experience incredible mouth watering, healthy and not so healthy foods from Detroit’s renown food truck chefs. Take an adventure into the Mo Biergarten where you can take your time to sample some of the best beers in the country, some of them made right in Michigan and the Detroit area. Then set your eyes on the art that’s happening right here in Detroit in the Mo Artist Village.
If you look at the level of artists generating all of this great beer, food, art and music that live in Detroit, it’s mind blowing with the breadth of creativity just seeping from all ends of the metro area.
AM: Who are you? By that, I mean, what is your background and how does it lend itself to this event?
MC: I was born at Mt. Sinai in Downtown Detroit and I’m a passionate fan of all of Detroit’s sports teams, so I’m a Detroiter born and bred. I worked in radio in Michigan and moved to New York City to head up marketing and promotion for my mentor Bill McGathy at In De Goot Entertainment, an artist management company, where I stayed for 10 years.
I always had a foot in the live music world and decided at a certain point it was time to follow my own vision. I love the creative process of everything I do whether it’s putting together a creative marketing program or figuring out a cool feature for a live event. I have worked so long in the business that I have been able to work with some of the best people in their field. Whether it’s my business partner Ray Steinman who has produced Ultra Music Festival in Miami and worldwide for a decade, or Joe Litvag from AEG who has developed and produced the largest rock festivals in the country like Rock On The Range.
I have drawn inspiration from these people and picked out things I like here and there, and then it gets shaken up in my head and combined with my love for Detroit – it comes out as Mo Pop.
AM: How did you decide who was going to be a part of the event?
MC: Our mindset was that anyone could play Mo Pop, why place a limit? We started pitching our idea to the agents and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were the first artists to say, “We love that vision, we want to be a part of this.” It kind of went from there.
AM: Can you describe what you think August 17th will look like? (I know you don’t know what the weather will be, it is Michigan and all.)
MC: I hope mother nature thinks the show is as cool as we do, and will help us create the kind of atmosphere we know this event will bring.
AM: Are there more MO POPs on the horizon?
MC: Mo Pop Detroit, in our minds, has limitless potential because of the brilliance of the community. I hope this is just the beginning of a long love letter to my hometown.
AM: What are you most looking forward to personally about MO POP?
MC: Introducing festival goers to a full day experience utilizing all of their senses. Happy people, enjoying themselves, creating new memories, outdoors, like we all like to do during the summertime.
AM: What’s your favorite part about Metro Detroit? What about Michigan?
I bring my family in from New York to visit my mom who lives here in Detroit, and we end up driving around so I can show them the greatness of this city. Inevitably we end up stumbling into something cool and eye opening with that wow factor. Think about this, that all starts with a simple thought. Our craft beer brewmasters, our artists, our food trucks, and our musicians, all of them started out of nothing with a tiny signal forming a synapse in their brain and set off a desire and the persistence to see that vision through.
To me that’s REAL magic and there is a lot of it here in Detroit.
[button link=”#” size=”large”]Want to win tickets to MO POP? Let us know what you’re looking forward to most! Is it a specific food truck, brewery or band? Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter! Contest ends 8/14/13 [/button]